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Of Metal and Wishes


Of Metal and Wishes

OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine tells the story of a girl named Wen who moves into a factory during the industrial revolution. She becomes a helper to her father, who is the facility's doctor. This factory is different than others because it has a haunting secret --- a ghost that watches over everyone and grants people's wishes. After a terrible accident, Wen believes the ghost is real and that she somehow caused the accident. Wen decides to seek out the truth, uncovering deeper secrets that the factory never knew. 

This book was FANTASTIC in every way.The writing style was haunting and elegant and, at times, dark, cruel and honest, which fit the story perfectly. It was also historical fiction done well --- everything is right for the time period down to the descriptions of how Wen's gowns. The industrial and poor setting felt real, and Sarah left nothing out when creating each scene, no matter how grueling. It is easy to imagine men slaving away over big factory machines trying to get just a few coins.

This book was FANTASTIC in every way. The writing style was haunting and elegant…and Sarah left nothing out when creating each scene

It was also interesting to see the Noor and Itanyai --- two distinct cultures with a tense relationship --- coincide with one another. Wen, a member of the Itanyai people, gets outside perspective on the two cultures because she is the daughter of the doctor who treats all the injured and sick, and teaches her that they are all humans. When she realizes this, it puts a strain on all of her other relationships. 

I appreciated that the characters all have their flaws in this novel; they’re not all good or bad, which makes them more realistic than characters in other novels.  For example, Wen's father is a selfless man who heals all the sick and injured, no matter their income or culture. He also protects Wen at all costs. Unfortunately, he does this by keeping secrets from her, and he doesn’t know how to show love.

Wen, meanwhile, is very independent, which causes her to stand out among the Itanyai people. She relishes in her skills as a seamstress and tries to be like her passed mother. Wen is curious --- which is why she wants to discover the truth about Ghost and the Noor --- and her cleverness can get her out of bad situations but also back into new ones.  Wen truly grows throughout the novel. At the beginning of OF METAL AND WISHES she tries so hard to be like her mother, but as the novel progresses, she learns to become herself.

OF METAL AND WISHES has a lot of adult content, so I would not recommend this book for anyone younger than 16 or anyone who isn’t OK with that.  Having said that, I definitely recommend this to anyone else because it has elements of several different genres. I recommend it to people who are fans of LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux, LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo, historical fiction, paranormal, steampunk, contemporary, and horror. This book is also definitely for guys and girls because it is so adverse.

The book puts you on an emotional rollercoaster, is a very creative idea and is sort of “out there,” but in a good way --- all in all, it’s fantastic!

Reviewed by Christa O., Teen Board Member on August 27, 2014

Of Metal and Wishes
by Sarah Fine

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2014
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • ISBN-10: 144248358X
  • ISBN-13: 9781442483583